News In Brief

Gasoline prices jumped 8.58 cents over the last two weeks, reaching a new all-time high, analyst Trilby Lundberg reported. The nation's average price at the pump, including all grades and taxes, was $1.76 per gallon last Friday, up 5 percent from April 20, according to her survey of 8,000 service stations nationwide. The highest increase - 13 cents - came in the Midwest, and prices rose 8 cents in the West. Those regions fared worst partly because of the reformulated fuel that must be sold there to limit pollution, Lundberg said. The highest prices are in Chicago, where a gallon of self-service regular costs $2.02.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is to unveil a new military strategy that, among other features, would formally abandon the two-simultaneous-war measure that's been used to determine the size of the armed forces, The Washington Post reported. For a decade, the Pentagon has used the possibility of having to fight in two areas at once to determine the minimum number of troops and weapons needed. Rumsfeld is scheduled to meet with President Bush this week to seek final approval for the new strategy, which involves some of the biggest changes in 10 years.

Most Americans still support the death penalty, but a new poll suggests there is growing ambivalence about it. About 63 percent of those questioned by ABC News and The Washington Post supported capital punishment when no other option was given - down from a high of 80 percent seven years ago. But support for executions dropped to 46 percent when life without parole was offered as an alternative. Pollsters also found the argument that capital punishment acts as a deterrent is losing favor. In a 1985 Gallup poll, 62 percent agreed with that view. Today just 43 percent agree.

Thirty two years after Princeton University first allowed females to study on campus, the Ivy League college named a molecular biology professor as its first woman president. The board of trustees unanimously elected Shirley Caldwell Tilghman as the 19th president since the school was founded in 1746. She will replace outgoing president Harold Shapiro, who served for 13 years.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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